Lincoln graduate heading to West Point learned leadership skills from The First Tee of South Dakota

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Lincoln High School graduate is getting ready to head to an elite military academy in a few weeks. Getting into West Point has been a goal of Max Martin’s for the past three years.

In the summer, you can usually find Max Martin volunteering his time at Elmwood Golf Course with The First Tee of South Dakota. Program Director Kelli Sinksen says the 18-year-old has been a great asset to the youth organization.

“He’s a volunteer coach for us. He comes every shift. He’s great with the kids. He’s kind of an example of what future First Tee participants should look up to. First Tee we not only teach golf skills but we also teach them to be good people and Max is just a great representation of that,” Sinksen said.

Martin started as a participant with The First Tee when he was younger and has been with the program for more than a decade. He still lives by some of the strategies today.

“Like STAR is stop, think, anticipate, respond. It’s great to use on the golf course but it’s even better to use when something hits you in life that you didn’t expect,” Martin said.

While he’s expecting to leave for West Point on July 13th, he’s not exactly sure what awaits him there other than hopefully a bright future in the Army.

“Overall I’m very excited but the nervousness is definitely one that I can’t get rid of,” Martin said.

Martin says he doesn’t come from a military family but community service is incredibly important.

“Leadership is such a big thing for me on par with what the First Tee has instilled in me. So with the leadership training and just being able to serve my country, it was just a perfect fit,” Martin said.

A perfect fit for someone with incredible drive.

Martin is the first Ace-certified participant for The First Tee of South Dakota. That means he submitted a portfolio consisting of two years of work in community service, volunteering and other areas to the national organization. Martin also recently scored his first hole-in-one on the golf course.

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